Daily Israel Report

Is Jordan Aiding and Abetting Hamas?

Amman is reportedly leading talks to find Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal a new home as tensions mount between Hamas and Damascus.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/21/2011, 10:49 PM

According to the London-based al Hayat newspaper, Jordan is leading secret talks with several nations to find a home for Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal.

The report comes as tensions between the Hamas terror organization, which openly seeks the destruction of Israel, and Syrian authorities become increasingly strained over Hamas' support for anti-regime protesters in Damascus.

The paper quoted a source as saying that all the leading officials of Hamas except Mashaal have already left Damascus for other countries.

Hamas's second in command abroad, Moussa Abu Marzouk, is already in Amman where he is said to be consulting with Jordanian officials. His presence in the Jordanian capital is said to be conditioned on his not engaging in political or media activity.

Al Hayat's source claimed a decision by Mashaal to leave Syria is yet to be taken as the Jordan-led talks to find the group a new headquarters progress.

According to the source, Hamas' problems in Syria began when Mashaal suggested President Bashar al-Assad pursue government reforms. Later, Mashaal asked for a meeting with Assad, but was reportedly refused.

Mashaal then reportedly paid a secret visit to Beirut and met with Hizbullah-leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, asking him to advise Assad to meet opposition demands. The Iran-and-Syria-dependent Nasrallah declined.

Shortly thereafter, Iran pressured Hamas to step back from its criticism of Damascus by suspending its financial support of the terror group's administration in Gaza. The move resulted in a financial crisis for Hamas.

In the aftermath, Hamas denied comments attributed to Mashaal saying they were "totally fabricated and unfounded."

The terror group also criticized Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi for backing the Syrian uprising, saying the regime of President Bashar al-Assad was the only Arab ruler to protect and support "Palestinian rights."

Despite the denial, Hamas' foreign leadership has largely fled Syria for other countries as it continues to look for a new headquarters from which to continue its war on Israel.

Negotiations between Hamas and Egypt's caretaker junta to move the terror organization to Cairo after the fall of long-term president Hosni Mubarak stalled earlier this year.

However, some analysts say the rise of an Islamic government in Egypt may lead Hamas to try again due to its parent organization - the Muslim Brotherhood - being the big winner in Cairo's elections.

Security analysts say the troubles Hamas is having in Syria - and the dispersal of its foreign bureau - may serve as a convenient window for Israel to take decisive action against the terror group in Gaza.

But those troubles, they add, may be indicators for the true nature of Israel's relationship with Egypt and Jordan in the years to come.